James DiTullio, made motorcycles for drag racing
Updated: October 25, 2010, 6:31 AM
James “Puppet” DiTullio, an internationally acclaimed manufacturer of drag racing motorcycles, died last Monday in Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center after a lengthy illness. He was 67.
Born in Champaign-Urbana, Ill., Mr. DiTullio moved to Grand Island with his family as a young boy.
He graduated from Bishop Duffy High School in Niagara Falls, where he played football —a lineman, at 6-foot-4 and 315 pounds.
He was an ironworker for many years until he started building bikes for motorcycle drag racing and opened a company called Race Visions in Amherst in the 1960s.
Mr. DiTullio built drag racing bikes for champion competitors, including Elmer Trett, Brian “SpiderMan” Johnson, Larry McBride and Jim “Da Judge” McClure.
Survivors include two daughters, Nicole Buscemi and Jamey; his mother, Dolores; two sisters, Judy Penque and Diane Muscoreil; and a brother, Richard.
A private gathering of friends will be held Saturday on Grand Island.
Mr. DiTullio also will be honored in November during the Manufacturers Cup race at South Georgia Motorsports Park near Valdosta, Ga.